Graduate Students

Ethan Berman

Ethan Berman’s upbringing between New Delhi, India and Cambridge, Massachusetts has led to his split personality as an adventurous vagabond and inquisitive academic. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2012 with a BA in Mathematics, he spent the better part of four years as a Princeton in Asia Fellow working with local communities in Thailand. He has worn many hats, including being a math teacher, IT technician, and experiential and environmental educator. Ethan’s first-hand exposure to environmental challenges in Southeast Asia and fascination with maps as a tool for sustainable management fueled him back across the Pacific to pursue an MSc as part of the IRSS. A little bit tired of the tropics, his research is focused on the complexities of mapping snow in forested and mountain environments and the effect of different snow variables on threatened wildlife populations.

You’re equally likely to find him plugging away in the lab as you are to find him slogging up to a cold mountain summit.


Tristan Goodbody

TristanGoodbodyTristan Goodbody was born in the wild, cow-wrangling city of Calgary, Alberta. He grew up an expat in Ecuador, Malaysia, and Scotland prior to his admission to the UBC Faculty of Forestry in 2010. His involvement in the co-op program there afforded him hands-on experience working in the forest industry with West Fraser Timber Ltd. in Chetwynd, BC, and in research based forestry operations with the Alex Fraser Research Forest in Williams Lake, BC. Tristan graduated with a BSc in Natural Resources Conservation in 2015 and decided that he was not yet prepared for the real world.

Tristan’s research with the IRSS will use drone-captured imagery and semi-global matching to predict residual timber volumes following selective harvesting, to gauge stand regeneration success, and to map the extent and perimeter of local fires in the Alex Fraser Research Forest. In his spare time, Tristan can be found with his dog, Kyra, or anywhere there is good food.



Yuhao (Bean) Lu –



Yuhao (Bean) Lu was born and raised in Wuxi, a city with over 4000 years history, located in the Yangtze River delta and northern bank of Lake Tai in China. He received a B.Sc in Forest Resources Management at the University of British Columbia and a B.Sc in Forestry at Nanjing Forestry University. Yuhao joined IRSS lab as a research assistant in 2013, working on forest modelling specifically on Coastal Douglas fir and Chinese fir plantations. Now as a PhD candidate at IRSS, he is detecting and analysing urban land use changes and urban green areas using Landsat imageries. Yuhao also enjoys staying active, road biking, travelling and photography. 




Zoltan Mityok

Zoltan Mityok’s life thus far can be summed up with one word: adaptation! Born in Calgary, AB and raised in a Hungarian household, his misadventures include growing up periodically in Europe, teaching English in Honduras, obtaining a B.Sc. in Natural Resources Conservation at UBC, and taking every opportunity to work through co-op internships in Wyoming, USA, interior BC and the Discovery Islands. Diverse work experiences called for as much adaptation as traveling: forestry engineering and reconnaissance, GIS mapping of the USDA’s Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, and helping to establish a newly licensed community forest via ecological assessments, mapping, and liaising with community and board members.

From these varied cultural and professional experiences, Zoltan has adapted and incorporated a medley of ideologies, values and beliefs into his work and sense of purpose. Life has helped to distil his broad interests into GIS and remote sensing; the application of such technologies to answering questions about our world and the biotic-abiotic interactions influencing humanity’s decisions and quality of life. Zoltan is thrilled to begin adapting to his new life as an MSc candidate, and will be modelling snow dynamics and its influence on wildlife behavior within the St’át’imc territory using sensor, field, and radio-telemetry data.


Chris Mulverhill

ChrisMulverhillChris was born in Illinois and raised in Texas, where he lived for 13 years. Following years of camping and too much running, Chris developed his passion for the outdoors and dreamed of moving west and living in the woods to learn more about the complicated ecosystems that only existed in pictures. Having finally been cooked to a medium rare in the sweltering Texas heat, Chris left to begin studying at the University of Oregon, where he would go on to earn a BSc in Environmental Science. There, Chris explored his interests in forest biology and geospatial technologies, eventually landing an undergraduate research assistantship under Dr. Chris Bone, investigating topics such as Mountain Pine Beetles, socioeconomic measures of poverty, US Forest Service supply chains, and forest treatments in the American West. Chris’s MSc research at UBC is part of the AWARE program and will examine the ability of ALS LiDAR to assess product mix in forest stands. He hopes to use this information to inform the decisions of forest managers and timber companies in order to improve the health and sustainability of forest resources.

Chris looks forward to life in Vancouver which includes lots of running, camping, eating, and pretending to understand hockey.


Brandon Prehn

Brandon is originally from California but he moved to Texas as soon as he could. Raised in Dallas, he graduated secondary school in 2008 and started school at Texas A&M University. He joined the US Army after 3 semesters, serving as a light infantryman with the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, New York. From 2011-2012 he deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in support of NATO International Security Assistance Forces. After leaving the Army, he returned to Texas A&M where he graduated with a double major in Spatial Sciences and Forestry. After an internship analyzing satellite imagery with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, his interests in remote sensing and geospatial technologies were confirmed, leading him to the IRSS at UBC.

Brandon enjoys international travel with his wife Christina, but on a typical night you’ll find him doing some online gaming. His research at the IRSS will use LiDAR to analyze the impacts of changes in forest structure on grizzly bear movement and survival.


Joseph Rakofsky

Joe was born in the Franglais-speaking city of Montreal, QC. Running to the window to watch lightning storms from his room, he was certain from the age of 10 that he would become a weather forecaster. Demoralized by the physics requirements for atmospheric science, he instead decided to pursue his life-long fascination with maps. In 2015, Joe earned his BSc in Environment from McGill University. In his last year and subsequent gap year, he carried out research with Professor Jeffrey Cardille using Landsat 8 to estimate concentrations of coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in lakes of the Abitibi region of Quebec. He also used the optical data to categorize the area’s lakes in order to improve CDOM estimations from Landsat 5 and 7. Ultimately, inspired by the grandeur and aesthetic beauty of trees, Joe sought a project that would combine forestry and cartography. And so, Joe found his way to the IRSS lab to pursue his master’s. As a team member of AWARE, his research assesses the utility of LiDAR for the measurement of tree height-growth near Slave Lake, AB.


Jeremy Arkin

Jeremy Arkin grew up in the suburbs outside of Chicago before moving to Boulder, Colorado where he received a bachelor’s degree in EBIO (Evolutionary Biology and Ecology) and Geography. Aside from normal coursework, his first professional experience in forestry was the completion of his honors thesis under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Veblen where he analyzed the upper montane tree regeneration following the 2002 Hayman Fire. After graduation he worked as a Forestry and GIS Technician for Boulder County Parks & Open Space as well Colorado Parks & Wildlife where he was able to gain insight on how to properly manage land in accordance with the very best methods and research available.

These experiences helped him to explore what kind of research he wanted to complete in graduate school as well as what kind of career he wanted to pursue afterwards, both of which he hopes will facilitate the coalescence of sound science and land management. His research with the IRSS will allow him to work closely with a Vancouver-based remote sensing company to analyze and develop the applications of drones within forestry, which will be used to inform land management and forestry operations.


Alex Graham

Alex Graham was born and raised in North Vancouver, BC and is an alumni of the UBC Varsity Baseball Program and graduate of a Bachelor of Arts in Geography – Environment and Sustainability (2016). Alex enjoys pushing his aptitude for spatial analysis by continuously exploring new GIS software with passion for open-source. His more recent experiences include completion of the BCIT GIS Advanced Diploma program, preceded by a work-learn position in the IRSS.

Alex is motivated to be proficient in open-source GIS application design and deployment to take advantage of the growing demand for automated, low-cost GIS solutions. In his upcoming MSc studies, Alex intends to examine programmatic methods and flight parameters for building forest and terrain models derived from UAV photos and their subsequent photogrammetric point clouds in varying forest and terrain conditions. As hobbies, Alex enjoys skiing, playing guitar and writing code for side projects.



Marco Sanelli

Marco Sanelli was born in the land down under in Canberra, Australia. Growing up, he shifted between Europe and North America living in Rome in Italy, Ottawa in Canada, and Rijeka in Croatia. Later on in life, he decided to move to Vancouver to start his BSc in Natural Resource Conservation at UBC. Fascinated by the variety of research streams in conservation, he decided to enroll in the co-op program. His first two summer co-op placements with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the British Columbia Conservation Foundation were mostly fieldwork based. Tired from all the long hiking days, he became interested in GIS and remote sensing applications to conservation. As his third co-op term, he has been working in the IRSS since January, 2017. He will be using LiDAR data to conduct a canopy gap analysis of the Canadian boreal forest. Throughout the work term he is aiming to enhance his knowledge of ArcGIS and LiDAR software, R and Python. Some of his hobbies include bouldering, rock climbing, cooking (and eating) Italian food, and watching LOTR. He can be found climbing just about any vertical structure, most notably Squamish granite, and trees of course.


Agatha Czekaljo


Agatha Czekaljo was born and raised on the West Coast in Metro Vancouver, BC. She is currently finishing her B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences, with a concentration in ecology and conservation, as well as a minor in Philosophy. During her undergraduate degree she completed the Science Co-op program while working at ALS Environmental Laboratory Group (Calgary, AB), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Lacombe, AB), and Canadian Natural Resources (Calgary, AB). From these positions she has gained ample experience in quality soil and water analytical testing, field sampling and data analysis for forage crop and grazing research, as well as regulatory practices and policy for the oil and gas industry. Agatha enjoys travelling, hiking, foraging, organizing her stamp collection, and good coffee. Her post-graduation plan is to continue pursuing her interests in plant ecology and conservation while taking advantage of remote sensing and GIS applications.


Ignacio San Miguel



Ignacio San Miguel was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. His passion for natural resources management led him to study a BSc in forestry at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. He then pursued his interests through a MSc in Forestry at the Universidad de Valladolid where he worked on the connectivity of brown bear habitat, here he realized the full potential of GIS and remote sensing. Ignacio then worked at the Joint Research Centre in Italy, where he used satellite image acquisition campaign for the Common Agricultural Policy check subsidies. This experience strengthened his resolution to continue working on remote sensing for natural environment assessments and management. His MSc research will be on wildfire patterns analysis using aerial and satellite images.




Lukas Schreiber

LukasSchreiberLukas grew up in a village in Austria, not far from Vienna. He occasionally helped his father with managing the family forest. He spent countless hours walking through the woods, marking trees, planting trees, erecting fences and crunching numbers for the tax office. During this time he first came into contact with remote sensing when he used aerial photographs to delineate land use maps in order for his father to receive Common Agricultural Policy subsidies. He attended mechanical engineering school for five years and then served his country as an ambulance technician for nine months. After that he left for the Netherlands to pursue a BSc in Aerospace Engineering. During this he spent a semester doing a minor in forestry at UBC. It was there that he re-discovered his passion for forestry and as the Netherlands were way to flat for a mountain boy like him anyways, he decided to return and join the IRSS.

During his master’s he will look into biomass quantification, change detection, camouflaged vehicle detection and/or species identification using multispectral optical and synthetic aperture radar images from Urthecast’s satellites. In his free time, Lukas spends as much time as possible in the North Shore Mountains with the Varsity Outdoor Club. He especially likes ski touring and hiking but he is open to try many new things.


Dave Williams

Dave WilliamsBorn in Vancouver and raised in Victoria, Dave Williams spent most of his teen years and early twenties with designs on a music and writing career whilst dabbling in food service, social work, and tree planting. It was his experience with the latter and a growing awareness of impending global ecological doom that led him to the Natural Resources Conservation degree program in UBC Forestry, finding that his interests lie in urban socioecological systems, dynamics of ecosystem services, and political ecology.

As a member of both the IRSS and the Landscape Ecology Lab (LEL) under Sarah Gergel, Dave is working as an MSc candidate on using LiDAR and RapidEye multispectral data to produce a high resolution land cover map of Metro Vancouver. From this map, Dave aims to model the sources and flows of ecosystem services and compare them with socioeconomic data to see how urban form relates to ecological justice.



Max Yancho


Left alone as child in the dark woods of Northern Lower Michigan and forced to orienteer his way out, it was only a matter of time before Max Yancho found his calling as a forester. Max is the son a forester, and was raised under the towering sand cliffs and the dense northern hardwood forests of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. He graduated from Michigan State University in the Summer of 2013 with a B.S. in Forestry, concentrating in Forest Conservation and Environmental Studies. While at MSU, Max participated in many different research projects including the development of genetically modified poplar for biofuels, emerald ash borer firewood sterilization, and commercial Christmas tree production. Since graduation, Max has worked in Northern Lower Michigan as a district forester, educating the public about the realities of timber and land management, as well as a professional consulting forester, assisting private landowners in the scientific and ethical management of their forests. Max maintains the credentials of Candidate Certified Forester with the Society of American Foresters. Attending graduate school has been a long-time goal of Max’s, with his motivation to join the IRSS Lab stemming from his experiences in the Michigan forest products industry. Max is currently pursuing his M.Sc. degree. He is working closely with a local Vancouver remote sensing company to further develop UAV technologies and improve their integration into forest management.

Max is an avid outdoorsman, enjoying camping, hunting, hiking, and fishing alongside his wonderful wife of 2 years, Sarah. Max and his wife are kept busy with their two dogs. The couple also enjoys traveling, coffee, good beer, and great food.